Over the past 10 years, there has been a massive paradigm shift in the world of advertising. In past decades, advertisers could place commercials on one of the major television networks, place ads in a newspaper or run ads on the local radio stations and reach large percentages of their customers.
However, the landscape has changed significantly in recent years. Subscriptions have plummeted for newspapers, drastically reducing the effectiveness of print ads. The Newspaper Association of America reported that 2007 witnessed the steepest decline ever in newspaper advertising revenue. Ad revenues dropped a stunning 9.4 percent from 2006, which constituted a record low.
And it’s not just newspaper ads that are suffering. The increasing popularity of satellite television and digital cable has spelled doom for television ads. In the 1970s and 1980s, companies could advertise on one of the three major networks and know their ads would reach 90 percent of their target audience. But now, the target audience can be scattered across hundreds of channels. Even if a brand finds the right television network for its target demographic, the advent of TiVo and DVR means people can fast forward through the commercials.
The effectiveness of radio ads has been reduced by satellite radio (which has no commercials) and devices that allow drivers to play iPods or MP3 players in the car. In November 2008, the Radio Advertising Bureau reported a 20-percent drop in revenue from the same month in 2007.
Lastly, traditional advertising had become stale. People are so inundated by ads on TV and radio and so used to seeing billboards on the highway that they barely notice them anymore, making the advertising far less effective.
The obstacles that initially slowed the ascent of digital signage were the cost of the display and the hardware, which has comes down significantly in recent years. LCD monitors, which used to cost thousands of dollars, can now be had for less than $1,000. Other reasons included the lack of content distribution and management services, which are now readily available, robust and affordable. There are now more than 100 companies offering digital signage management software.
“Now, companies can easily monetize their digital advertising campaigns since digital can export to any number mediums and formats, meaning more bang for your buck,” said James D. Zahakos, co-founder, president and chief operating officer of Magnetic 3D, a New York City-based end-to-end solution provider of auto-stereoscopic 3D displays and 3D digital media products and services.
“Digital signage allows a customer to display multiple messages at a given time, as opposed to static displays which only allow for one message and cannot be changed due to environmental, economic or, better yet, strategic initiatives,” he said. “Digital signage network operators have a much better opportunity to monetize the cost of the displays by using digital signage to leverage multiple revenue opportunities by sharing the space with multiple customers, whereas in the past, with print, there could only be one customer.”
While ordinary digital signage provides a wealth of opportunities for businesses, like all forms of media, it can grow stale if new avenues are not explored. Eventually, people will become immune to standard 2D digital signage the same way they have become immune to advertisements on television or roadside billboards. So, the question is: What is the next step for digital signage? How can it evolve so that it remains fresh and exciting and does not fall by the wayside in the manner of static billboards?
The answer is simple: 3D technology.
— By Fritz Esker Contributing writer, DigitalSignageToday.com